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Email Phishing- what is it and what to be aware of

November 4, 2023

Beware of Bait in Your Inbox: Unmasking Email Phishing

Ever heard of phishing? No, it's not that serene activity where you sit by a lake with a fishing pole in hand. Although, it's somewhat similar because it involves bait, but in this case, you're the fish they're after, and your personal information is the prize.

What Is Email Phishing Anyway?

Phishing is a sneaky technique used by digital tricksters (let's call them cybercrooks) to lure you into giving up your precious personal details like passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. How do they do this? Well, through emails that look as legitimate as a $100 bill but are as fake as a three-dollar note.

Spotting a Phishy Email

Here are some tips to help you sniff out a phishy email, even if you're not tech-savvy:

1. Check the Sender's Email Address
If an email says it's from your bank but the email address ends in something like ',' it's as fishy as they come. Legitimate companies have email addresses that match their company names.

2. Look for Typos and Grammar Goofs
Professional emails are like well-dressed folks at a job interview — neat and with good manners. If an email is riddled with spelling mistakes and grammar that would make your English teacher cringe, it's a big red flag.

3. Don’t Trust Too-Good-To-Be-True Offers
Got an email saying you've won a lottery you don't remember buying a ticket for? As nice as it sounds, it's like finding a unicorn in your backyard. Very unlikely. Cybercrooks love to bait with promises of free trips, money, or other pie-in-the-sky offers.

4. Beware of Urgent or Threatening Language
A classic trick in the phishing playbook is to make you panic. You might see subjects like 'Urgent: Your account will be closed!' Relax, it's just a scare tactic. Your bank won't shut your account down via email without a proper process.

5. Think Before You Click
If an email is nudging you to click on a link or download an attachment, take a pause. Ask yourself, 'Would my bank really send me a random PDF to download out of the blue?' When in doubt, don't click!

6. Check for Personalization
Phishing emails often use generic greetings like 'Dear Customer.' If it's an entity you do business with, they'll likely use your actual name.

What To Do If You Spot a Phish

If you have even a sliver of doubt, don't bite the bait. Here's what you can do instead:

  • Contact the Company Directly: If the email claims to be from a company you know, find their official contact info and give them a call. But don't use any phone numbers from the suspicious email!

  • Use Your Email's Reporting Feature: Most email services have a way to report phishing attempts. Use it!

  • Delete the Email: Once you've reported it, delete the suspicious email from your inbox.

In a Nutshell

Email phishing is like a bad magic trick; it only works if you don't know what to look for. Always question things that seem off in your inbox, even if they look official at first glance. By being a little skeptical, you're building a shield around your digital life.

Stay safe, stay smart, and remember – the only thing you should be 'phishing' for is the truth behind suspicious emails!

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